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Transition and Crisis as an Initiation

Transition and Crisis as an Initiation

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If you are going through a transition or crisis consider this. As unsettled, chaotic, and perhaps even as hopeless as things are right now there may be another way to look at what is happening.

  • Maybe there is something deeper to look at beyond a miserable time that you can’t wait to get through?
  • Maybe what is happening to you right now is not all that bad.
  • Maybe what is happening is a gift beyond measure.
  • Maybe the dark place that you’re in is really an initiation.
  • Maybe this initiation is preparing you for something you have been waiting for your whole life.


The majority of our American culture no longer recognize initiations as having much value; consequently most of us have don’t have any context for these tough times beyond viewing them as something unproductive, a sign of weakness, or simply a painful nuisance.

I know it is hard, if not impossible, to see a crisis as having any value when you are in the middle of it, but that is the way initiations work. You don’t understand what is happening as they rip you apart in a wrathful, relentless, loving way, with only one goal in mind…to break you down so you can be rebuilt to become the person you are meant to be in all your authentic power.

If you are in the midst of a crisis and things seem hopeless, see if you can feel some truth in what I am saying. See if you can feel the slightest tickle in your belly letting you know there may be some truth in these words.


How do you know if you are in crisis?

When I speak of a transition or crisis I am referring to a time in your life that knocks you off your current path and forces you to re-evaluate your existence. This could be the death of someone close to you, a medical diagnosis, a birth of a child, marriage, divorce, relationship challenges in general, depression or anxiety, kids heading off to college, retirement, financial challenges, finding yourself in an abusive situation, a near death experience, or just a time when you say, “I just can’t live this way anymore.”

One thing that is in common with all of these life events is that they force you to change the way you perform your daily routine for a while, giving you the opportunity to wake up and remember you’re here for a reason.

“There is a purpose to life. Find the light inside you. Feed it, fire it up, and let it shine with abandon throughout the world; it will reflect upon you in ways unimagined” L. Ford

You are here for a reason

Your soul has a special song, a special vibration that is like a snowflake; no two are alike. Your job on this earth is to align your ‘being’ with your ‘doing.’ To a shaman, your soul is as real as your mind and body, and because of that it needs to be cared for. When our soul’s vibration is aligned with our physical existence, we are in authentic power. We are most powerful when we are on the path to recognizing the unique gift we have to share with the world.

When we continue to do things that are not in alignment with whom we are, we operate out of synch like a car that bumps down the road because a tire is out of balance, or like a person walking around with a pebble in their shoe. Eventually these things eat at us. When a person is in this state of discord, it feels as though they are singing out of tune. The more people who are living this way, the more our world sounds like an entire chorus singing out of tune.

When we live out of balance our soul is in a state of constant stress. Our bodies and minds become dis-eased. We get sick and depressed and lose meaning and purpose. The world around us is not immune to this noise and soon the ripple effect begins to disturb everything. The bees can’t find their way back to the hives and the oceans rise and become dark and murky.

You are here for a reason and you know it; the problem is that so many of us have forgotten this …but our souls do not forget. In fact, life is one big conspiracy designed to guide us into our soul’s purpose and initiations are the way spirit wakes us up to remember.

Initiations are hard

Initiations come upon us sometimes when we least expect them and throw our lives into a whirlwind. Initiation can hurt so bad and feel so hopeless you can lose faith in the sun ever rising again. You can be brought to a place where life no longer seems worth living. And that is the point, I guess. I wish it could be different, I really do. But after going through my own initiation and from working with hundreds of courageous souls as they passed though tough times, I have come to understand that it is just how it works.

When I was in Nepal many years ago I unwittingly entered into the beginning of my own initiation. One afternoon, a short shaman with a tall power looked up at me from my ribs and said:

“You people…you wait until you are forty to “do” initiation, and when it comes you call it a mid-life crisis and run. Very funny, very sad.”

Over the next seven years I was broken, opened, hopeless, enlightened, and ultimately retrieved a missing piece of my soul and was initiated into my found heritage as a shaman in the Bon lineage

Life is designed to initiate us into who we are, to help us heal old wounds that have kept us from being in our full power here on earth. But we have lost the value in the tradition of initiations and because of this when they come we don’t even know what they are. An initiation is designed to guide you, test you, and awaken you into living your purpose here on this earth.

So how did we get lost?

If we are asleep we cannot hear the call.

The shamans tell us that we have fallen asleep. Our days drift by moving from A to B, B to A, with an occasional C thrown in for a vacation. We become like robots with our minds, believing in only the things we have witnessed in our experience through our five senses. We live in the past or future, but rarely in the moment. We dig ourselves into deep ruts that we convince ourselves we cannot escape from. These ruts imprison us with life’s obligations, with the dream of our culture, and become imprinted on our brains as well-worn neurological pathways. The shamans tell us this is the process of becoming domesticated.

Like a river, energy inside the brain follows the path of least resistance, our thoughts flow with ease in accordance with the dream we have co-created here on this earth. We react to our children’s antics only to catch ourselves sounding like our mother, we eat ice cream for dessert because we were given it as a treat as a child, and we relate to money in the ways that we learned growing up. We have lost sight of the bigger picture. We travel in our canoe down the river of life back and forth until the path has worn the banks so tall that we can no longer see the horizon. The only view is the bank and everything that occurs in our little world. It’s all we know as we paddle each day.

Until a crisis or transition comes with enough strength to kick our butts and stir us from our slumber.

The whole point of an initiation is too lose oneself.

Dante in the Divine Comedy summed it up beautifully when he started with the words…

In the middle of the road of my life I awoke in a dark wood, where the true way was wholly lost.”

Many traditions still send young children into the dark woods to fend for themselves as a way of initiating them into adulthood. One of the fundamental necessities of an initiation is to become lost. If you sent a young boy into the woods for a week to fend for himself, and then you gave him a flashlight and a map, it would kind of defeat the whole purpose. You are supposed to be lost right now. It is the way it works.

What can I do now?

It is true; the teacher arrives when the student is ready. Intend, attract, take action and get help. Reach out to people who can help guide you through these times. People who have been through their own initiations and can help you see the light when things are dark are always good people to learn from. Find books that speak to you. Join a course. Make sure that what you find in any of these teachers feels authentic. Many people teach as a way of avoiding their own initiation, or find themselves so excited in the midst of their own initiation that they rush out to teach others before they are ready. Trust your instincts and demand to attract the teacher you deserve.

Do not ignore the value of modern medicine; see a doctor, psychiatrist, or therapist. Getting help is not a sign of weakness. Waking up is worth it. You deserve it and the world needs you.

“Each day,
Each moment
I am growing
My dreams
My power
It is why I am here”

Lawrence Ford is an author, syndicated columnist, speaker, teacher, financial advisor at Conscious Capital Wealth Management, and consultant to the financial industry. Mr. Ford has dedicated much of his life to being a bridge between the modern world of business and the ancient world of wisdom. He has advised thousands of people with both their finances and their spirit. Mr. Ford was dubbed the “Shaman of Wall Street” by the Washington Post, The Economist Magazine referred to Lawrence as a man of “two worlds”, NPR named him The Finance Guru, and the Retirement Income Journal recently called him The Spiritual Advisor. Lawrence can be reached at: Lford@consciouscapitlawm.com, (860-659-8299) and at www.larryford.org

Lawrence Ford is a Registered Representative of INVEST Financial Corporation (INVEST), member FINRA/SIPC. All expressions of opinion in this commentary reflect the opinions of the author and not necessarily those of INVEST. This commentary does not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation to buy any security. INVEST does not offer tax and/or legal advice and it is strongly recommended you consult with your legal or tax professional for guidance on your particular situation. INVEST offers securities and is not affiliated with Conscious Capital Wealth Management, LLC.